The emergency request, sent by Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, was delivered to Justice Clarence Thomas based on jurisdiction. Thomas will now have the option to decide himself or ask his colleagues to weigh in on the request to issue a temporary injunction on enforcement, which would stay in place while lower court litigation continues.
A three-judge federal judicial panel on Thursday had refused to delay enforcement of its order, despite the state indicating it would appeal. That panel had concluded the current map drawn based on the 2020 census figures likely violates the Voting Rights Act by diluting the voting power of minority voters.
The panel ordered the state to redraw its GOP-friendly map to create a second minority voter congressional district.
The state’s current congressional delegation has only one Black representative, Democrat Rep. Terri Sewell, who represents Alabama’s 7th congressional district, the only Black majority district in the Yellowhammer State.
Should this case, or a similar appeal from another state, reach the high court for final review on a legal fast-track, it could lead to a fresh look at Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibits voting practices or procedures that discriminate on the basis of race, color or membership in an assortment of language minority groups.
The latest census indicated Alabama’s population is roughly 27% Black.